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Habs centre Glen Metropolit may return early from shoulder injury

MONTREAL - Glen Metropolit was supposed to be out for at least another two weeks, but the checking centre could be back as early as Game 3 of the Montreal Canadiens playoffs series against the Washington Capitals.

Metropolit, who suffered a tear in a shoulder on March 27, has been skating hard for a week and said Sunday he feels ready to play. When he was injured, the team said he was to be out for 6-to-8 weeks.

"I feel good," he said. "I might be ready to go, but I've got to get clearance."

Coach Jacques Martin said it would be a game-time decision whether he would dress against Washington at the Bell Centre on Monday night. He'll be happy to see the 35-year-old back.

"He brings experience and gives us depth," said Martin. "He's a centre who can take faceoffs and he's done well for us on the power play."

Metropolit had a career high 15 goals this season, 10 of them while playing on the second power play unit.

Should he return, defenceman Paul Mara, who is out for the season with a shoulder injury, would be the team's only injured player.

The best-of-seven series is tied 1-1 after a pair of overtime games in Washington.

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